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Suicide—one death every 40 seconds
Suicide always grabs our attention. And when it is a celebrity who has suicided, the outpouring is unusually intimate as many people express condolences to and about these stars as though they grew up in the same village.
Yet, when people closer to us, of less significant ilk have suicided we barely pay attention to them or their families. One would think that the depth of expressions on the celebrity incident could move a person in T&T to find the home of relatives of one who has died by suicide here and offer support.
Rather, unless it is a disreputable situation, there is hardly a social media share or a repost. And, when we speak, we are mostly judgmental and prejudiced. Often we take to bashing people who have died by suicide, subjecting their friends and family to all kinds of uninformed and archaic thoughts and opinions.
Once again, the appeal is for us to become more educated, more compassionate and empathetic and to practise suspending judgment. The following paragraphs are an edited excerpt from a previously published column (2013) on suiciding, which I believe could be invaluable to our response to those who die by suicide and to the community impacted by such deaths.
According to the World Health Organisation statistics, every year, almost one million people die from suicide, a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
In the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60 per cent worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group. These figures do not include suicide attempts, which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. (www.who.int/mental_health)
The site also says, “Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.”
Caroline C Ravello is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (UWI). Write to:
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